>> Market Update 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed." --Mark Twain, American author and humorist

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE ... Some reporters tried to make October's 3.4% drop in Existing Home Sales into evidence that the housing recovery has firmly changed direction. Perhaps it is they who were uninformed. October may have been down, but the 5.36 million unit annual rate puts Existing Homes Sales up 3.9% over a year ago. Housing data can be volatile from month to month and many observers expect sales growth to return next month. A supply shortage was part of the problem, as total inventory was down 2.3% at the end of October. But the median price was up 5.8%

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>> Market Update 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." --Jack Benny, American comedian, actor, and violinist

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE ... If you don't mind the volatile monthly headline numbers, the occasional disappointing monthly housing report doesn't matter. Housing Starts came in last week down 11.0% in October, settling at a soft 1.060 million annual rate. Overall, starts are off 1.8% from a year ago. But hold on. Most of the monthly decline was due to the drop in multi-family starts, which are highlyvolatile, month to month. Single family starts were down only a smidge, and they're still UP 2.4% in the past year. The total number of single-family homes under construction (started but not finished) went up 14% the

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COMMENTARY: As anticipated, this was a week of normalcy in the mortgage market.  Data released by the Commerce Department indicated homebuilders scaled back the pace of construction in October by 11%. The details of the report show an outsized 18.6% slowdown in starts occurred in the South, an area hit hard by heavy rains and flooding last month.  On the other hand, the October building permit figure, a harbinger of future housing starts, was up a much stronger-than-expected 4.1% -- with the permits to build new homes in the South rising to the highest level in eight years. On a nationwide basis, building permit filings rose 2.4% -- the highest level for this metric since 2007.  Taken as a whole, the starts and permits figures proved to be much like baby

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COMMENTARY: After last week’s bunker-busting Jobs report, it was anyone’s guess how this week would roll.  Those market watchers predicting a rebound from Friday’s knee-jerk reaction were a bit disappointed with little fallback to lower rates in the beginning of the week.  Other than Uncle Sam selling T-bills and Veteran’s Day breaking the week up on Wednesday, the market yawned.  Today was a bit of a different story with a double dose of economic news proving to be a bit friendly to mortgage interest rates

The Labor Department released data showing inflation pressure at the gates of the nation's farms and factories declined 0.4% -- well below most economists' expectations for a modest gain.  The index has been flat or lower for four straight months,

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>> Market Update 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters." --Jean-Paul Kauffmann, French author


INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE ... We should probably be grateful that those who forecast the economic future aren't the people responsible for creating it. Economists have been forecasting a decline in home price appreciation for some time now. And while price gains have slowed a bit, they're still pretty good. A global real estate information provider reported U.S. home prices nationwide were up 6.4% year-over-year in September. Annual gains in fact have been ranging between 4.8% and 6.5% for the last 15 months, which sounds like pretty stable appreciation. The

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COMMENTARY: Talk about a swing-and-a miss!  Today’s widely anticipated October Jobs report blew everybody's socks off when the Labor Department announced October payrolls grew by 271,000 when most economists were predicting a supposedly robust 185,000.  The national jobless rate also dropped to 5.0% from 5.1% and average hourly earnings expanded by 0.4% to mark its fastest pace of increase since the economy exited the Great Recession in 2009.  As if all of that was not enough, revisions to prior months reports added a total of 12,000 new jobs. 

While the Federal Reserve looks at a broad array of economic data as they plot monetary policy strategies -- the vast majority of market participants think only a cataclysmically weak December payroll report on

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>> Market Update 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "What's the use of happiness? It can't buy you money." --Henny Youngman, British-born American comedian and violinist

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE ... Neither money nor happiness played a big role in last week's housing market reports. New Home Sales in September dropped 11.5%, sinking to a 468,000 annual rate. However, these sales are still up 2.0% compared to a year ago. Other positive news included a 9,000 unit increase in inventories, a good sign in the current supply strained market. The median price of new homes sold was up 13.5% from a year ago. It should also be remembered that new home sales surged in August. With this monthly volatility, the trend is what's key, and even with September's slide, new

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COMMENTARY: Thank you very much Janet Yellen and the rest of your merry men at the Federal Reserve.  As the week drew to a close and mortgage rates remained cool, calm and collected, the Fed once again met to discuss the US economy.  As expected, for the 56th straight meeting, they decided to keep the Fed Funds Rate (rate that banks lend to each other) at 0% - .25% which is designed to stimulate the economy by making cash cheap.  That was the good news.  What was unexpected was a single sentence at the end of the meeting letting it be known that a rate change is now officially on the table for the rest of the year.  With that little nugget, mortgage rates increased about 1/8th% across the board.  I’m glad these folks don’t meet every week!

To View The

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>> Market Update 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK... "Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money." --Jackie Mason, American stand-up comedian and actor

INFO THAT HITS US WHERE WE LIVE... Those with an affection for money were happy to see more of it was being made during September in our slowly recovering housing market. Existing Home Sales were UP 4.7% last month, reaching a 5.55 million annual rate. These gratifying numbers handily beat consensus expectations and sent sales up 8.8% for the last 12 months. The median price is up 6.1% compared to a year ago. Supply, however, continues to be a challenge. The months' supply dropped in September to 4.8 months, thanks to both the faster rate of sales and lower
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COMMENTARY: With little in the way of meaningful economic data to consider this week, mortgage investors spent their time monitoring stock markets to provide directional cues for the appropriate level of mortgage interest rates.  With the sluggish market, rates began to slide lower and then the China factor intervened.  Earlier this morning China’s central bank cut interest rates in an effort to stimulate economic growth in the world’s second largest economy.  China’s rate cut announcement comes at the same time the European Central Bank signals it may initiate another round of quantitative easing in an attempt to kick start economic activity in their neck of the woods.  Investors see the moves by these two central banks as reason to pile into riskier US

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